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Dealing with Patient Complaints

All health care facilities are faced with unhappy patients. Patients with significant issues may file a complaint or grievance against your facility or against their health plan.

Consider the case of Ms Patient. Ms Patient arrived at your facility on time and was escorted to a patient room. However, the staff forgot her! Ms Patient was found after waiting for over an hour when a medical assistant was going to put another patient in this room. The doctor that was to see Ms Patient had already left for the day so the on-call physician stepped in.

However, when he was working with Ms Patient, he accidentally burned her on the arm with a tool. Ms Patient was angry when she left. She became even angrier two days later when her bill arrived charging her for facility charges of 90 minutes. Ms Patient called you and lodged a complaint with her health plan.

What are your steps to resolving this complaint? Who would you talk to? What would you do? What would you change to prevent this from happening in the future?

Solution Preview

Errors occur in healthcare all the time, but one issue that is not openly discussed is patients being forgotten over the course of the day. This typically occurs when something out of the ordinary takes place throwing the staff member of their routine. Hence, a patient is forgotten in a room.

After speaking to the patient, I would immediately notify my direct supervisor and the department head for the division the complaint derived from. An account of the patient's complaint would be provided along with details of anything I have completed thus far in order to further assist the patient.

In order to appropriately address this complaint, due to the nature of the incident, the patient was forgotten, left in a room alone for more than an hour, burned and then billed inappropriately, an administrator should contact the patient personally. By having an administrator personally ...